Luke 1:5-7 (ESV)
5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.
Luke’s gospel begins with a note of sadness. Herod is reigning. He was a wicked king. He was godless and cruel. Yet the Jews were under his authority. They were under the yoke of roman oppression. It is around 6 BC.
During this sad time, we meet a sad family, Zechariah and Elizabeth. Both were righteous people. They were not perfect as in completely sinless, but certainly upright before God and men. However, these two had a problem: Elizabeth was barren.
In those days, people would have considered Zechariah and Elizabeth to be cursed. To have children is to be blessed by God.
Psalm 127:3-4 (ESV)
3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
But Zechariah and Elizabeth had no children.
What can we learn here? Don’t over-interpret your circumstances. We need to be careful not to let our circumstances determine what we think about ourselves or God. It would have been easy for Zechariah to be bitter, or to fear he had sinned in some way. But he had not sinned to cause his childlessness. Instead, God had a plan that Zechariah could not see yet. Who knows that the same is not true for you? Maybe your circumstances are hard. Maybe life is a dull gray. But be careful when you ask the “Why me?” question. If you are God’s child, know that he has a plan for you. He will use you for his glory. He will do so in his own timing. Don’t let your present circumstances get the better of you.